After a record setting orbit, a piece of Apollo history lands in Oklahoma

Great State

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Knowing what was inside all the wrapping didn’t do much to dampen the excitement on a Monday afternoon inside the Oklahoma History Center.

“This has been, all together, about ten years in planning,” says historian Dan Provo

Like Christmas morning, that’s how Provo and other staffers compared the careful unveiling of the actual space module for Skylab IV.

“This spacecraft, CM-118 is the next to last Apollo command module that flew. The very last was General Tom Stafford’s Apollo-Soyuz flight,” Provo continues.

This capsule spent 84 days in space from late 1973 to early 1974, a record for length of time then, and still a record for sustained orbit.

Provo explains, “Other spacecraft, such as the shuttles, went up, came down, and went back. But this one was in continuous orbit for 84 days. That remains a record to this day.”

For all the punishment it took from orbit to re-entry, it’s a little funny to see such care taken with this piece of history.

But people here say they would like to keep it in good condition for a long, long time.

“Part of our charge and responsibility is to treat it in such a way that it’ll be here for the next 100 years and 100 years after that,” argues Provo.

Oklahoma astronaut Bill Pogue was part of the all-rookie crew that rode this capsule to the Skylab space station.

It hung from the ceiling of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. from 1975 to 2018.

Provo says, “ParT of what we’re going to be doing is telling the story of Oklahomans in the space program.”

CM-118 should be been here in April 2020 but was delayed by an earthly pandemic.

It will be the centerpiece of a permanent exhibit here called ‘Launch to Landing: Oklahomans and Space’.

The careful entry into the new atmosphere of home is complete, coming to rest on just the right spot, at just the right time.

The Skylab IV capsule an many other artifacts are scheduled for public view sometime in mid-November, 2020.

For more information on the upcoming exhibit or the Oklahoma History Center, visit the History Center’s website.

‘Is This a Great State or What?’ is sponsored by WEOKIE.

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